Review unit provided by SmallRig
The SmallRig Professional Phone Video Rig Kit is for smartphone users who want to make more professional looking videos. The main selling point is this rig allows for attachments for lights, microphone and external power bank.
Bottomline: This is a well designed smartphone rig with excellent build quality. It comes with all possible items you may need to record with a smartphone. It's easy to set up, has good functionality and works great.
This rig is priced at US $169 and these are the items included:
- Rig cage
- Power bank holder
- 2x handle
- Cold shoe mount for light
- LED light
- Directional mic
- Shock mount for mic
- Furry windshield for mic
- 2x velcro cable tie
- 6x allen keys
- 2x screws
- 1x tripod
- 1x 3.5mm TRS cable for camera
- 1x 3.5mm TRRS cable for smart phone
- USB-A to USB-C cable
- Adapters for iPhone and Android phone users
Everything you many need to increase the production quality of your video is included. It's a good deal for the money considering you can save time from having to look for the individual items and buy them separately, and you don't have to worry about the different parts not working together.
Everything can be replaced. You can buy replacement rig cage and handles from SmallRig. As for the other items, you can buy from other brands. You can use your own mics, lights or whatever you want to attach to the rig.
Setting up the rig is quite straightforward once you know what each part is for. I highly recommend reading the manual included to find out all the features, especially for the mic and lights.
Weight of the rig is 1.24kg. So with the phone the weight should be around 1.4kg+.
The weight is very manageable. It is easy to record yourself vlog-style with one hand on the tripod. I won't want to hold this vlog-style for long periods of time but for a few minutes it's alright. It's more manageable than holding my mirrorless camera on tripod. While 1.4kg much heavier compared to just using a phone on a tripod, the advantage the rig is you can attach all the other accessories.
With the tripod, you can test the setup down when needed.
On all four sides of the rig are three holes you can use for attachment. You can attach to any hole to get the right position.
The two handles are comfortable to hold and have rubber grip for extra grip.
You can screw on the handles using the knobs and secure them with the Allen key stored beneath the handle.
The attachment area of the handles actually has protrusions that go into the groves of the rig cage. The protrusions prevent the handles from coming loose with usage. You know how when you screw a camera to a tripod plate and that would become loose with usage? That problem won't happen here.
The Allen key is held in place with magnets and even with intense shaking I wasn't able to dislodge anything. Having the Allen key there is convenient.
The included directional mic is not powered by battery and draws its power from the phone. Audio quality is good and it's able to filter unwanted noise quite well.
The iphone/Android phone adapter is needed to work with the mic. And make sure to use the correct 3.5mm TRRS cable (3 stripes on the connector) to record with smartphones. The 3.5mm TRS cable with 2 stripes on the connector is for normal cameras. The cables are not interchangeable and using the wrong cable means it cannot record any audio.
The adapter needs to be secured with the velcro cable tie provided to prevent it making noise when hitting against the rig.
The LED light included has 96 light beads. 48 are normal white light beads and the other 48 are for adjusting the colour temperature. To adjust brightness, just rotate the dial behind. To adjust the colour temperature, just press the dial and rotate. Battery capacity is 2200mAh and it charges via USB-C. You can also connect this to a power bank.
Quality of the tripod is much better than I expected. It's a full metal tripod except for the knobs. Build quality is excellent.
It's a ballhead tripod with a removable plate. The top can also rotate if you want to pan 360 degrees. There's a water level for checking balance.
Only downside here is there's no height adjustment but that's to be expected with such table-top tripods. The legs are quite stiff and can hold the setup well. Feet have rubber for good grip.
This is a very functional and useful rig for creators who use smartphones as their main recording device. The two handles allow you to move the phone in a more stable manner to record smoother footage. You'll get the best results with a phone with cameras with OIS.
I use my phones to record videos occasionally and i would use a phone mount, the Manfrotto TwistGrip. I can mount a directional mic on the phone and attach a tripod to the phone mount. Only thing I can't do is to attach a light.
The SmallRig phone rig kit allows for more attachments so that's useful. Being able to attach lights means you can record in dark or low light environment which will give you better image quality. With the light you can also record at night. In the photos above I've attached the light to the handle but you can attach the light to the main rig, or you can attach additional lights.
This a well designed and well made phone rig kit. I can't think of any downsides because all the parts are replaceable so if you don't like the quality of any component you can just replace them with ones you like.
For US $169, it's a good deal for the money for all the things you get and the extra functionality of being able to record better quality videos with your phone.
5 out of 5 stars.
Where to buy
You can get this phone rig kit from SmallRig web store (affiliate link). SmallRig also sells the parts separately so you can just buy the parts you need rather than the whole rig. And on their website you will find they sell a huge variety of camera and phone recording rigs.
If you're in Singapore, you can get this rig from Cathay Photo. It's best to give them a call first to check if they have stocks before heading down.